It ain’t over until it’s over.

I remember taking a short, but very hard calculus test in high school, and watching my friend hand in his test 10 minutes before time was called. I shot him the requisite stink-eye glare, and got back to work, struggling to integrate a function that was giving me absolutely no love. I don’t remember the (more…)

Some SAT advice for non-native English speakers

source I was looking over the visitor stats for this blog last night and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a small international audience! The SAT is administered all over the world, and at least a few people have visited this site from (in order of frequency) Singapore, Hungary, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Iran, (more…)

On the whole reality TV kerfuffle

image source It’s been over a week, and still not a day goes by that I don’t see a new article bashing The College Board for its decision to use reality TV as an essay topic. The topic caught me off guard just as it did everyone else, but I can’t justify all the hand-wringing (more…)

College Board Question of the Day archive search

UPDATE June 2015: The links in this post have been broken for some time. That’s not necessarily surprising, as I originally wrote it in early 2011. I’m leaving it up for archival purposes, but don’t bother clicking the links. Although the College Board’s Questions of the Day do remain archived on the CB site, it’s not so (more…)

Paragraph Improvement Strategies

source The Paragraph Improvement section accounts for only 6 questions per test, so mastering it shouldn’t be your first priority, but it should be an eventual priority. You’re going to see a lot of the same grammatical themes we’ve already discussed in Error ID and Sentence Improvement popping up again here. In fact, if you’ve (more…)

Sentence Improvement Strategies

All the rules from Error ID still apply, but when you’re doing a Sentence Improvement question, you have to think about the following as well. Run-On Sentences. Since the only thing you need to know about Run-On Sentences on the SAT is that you can’t tie two independent clauses (translation: an independent clause could stand alone (more…)

Error Identification strategies

You should be mechanical in checking every Error ID question for the following. Verbs. Start here.  If there is a verb underlined in the sentence, you need to check: Subject/Verb Agreement.  The SAT’s favorite ways to trick you include: Prepositional phrases (The display case of trophies at the top of the stairs in my father’s (more…)

Some more notes about the essay

You’ve got a lot of latitude in selecting your examples, but you should try to use at least one (ideally two) example that will impress your reader. That means Literature (with a capital ‘L’ like a book you read in school and can discuss in depth), a historical event or figure, or a personal event (more…)

One way to write a good essay

Your essay is technically worth ⅓ of your Writing score, but in practical terms it’s worth less than that. That’s because the technical range of possible scores for your essay is 0-12, but most essays fall within a range of 6-10. So all those points that would come from scores 0-6 are basically free points (more…)